Gran Aroma another Suntory coffee attack !

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It has been a busy time for the marketers at Suntory, first the My Drop system, now their canned coffee Boss gets a revamp with the men of SMAP promoting their new BOSS Gran Aroma. The mixing of foreign words “Gran” and “Aroma” not withstanding, seems that Suntory is trying to up their coffee game! First time I have seen BOSS in a filter pack (meaning there is real coffee in the filter pack) and also the usual RTD canned version. They were promising some sort of champagne fermentation process was involved to make the Gran Aroma different. The coffee filter pack lists both Columbia and Brazil as origins, plus “others”! Others could be some robusta, or perhaps some natural process coffee from where I don’t know? There is this strange fragrance and aroma which has subtle nuances of a natural process coffee lurking deep within the blend! This will be available tomorrow the 20th of August ! SMAPxBOSS commercials too…….

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Suntory makes a play for Nespresso’s market…..not really !

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Ready to drink coffee beverages have a fairly long history in the Japanese market. The above is a hybrid using liquid coffee, tea, and juice (sometimes mixed together-cassis coffee anyone)in a pod format. This is also a cross collaboration with THERMOS ! Kind of pricey at 90 JPY per pod and you must buy a box of 12 ! The cassis coffee was in a word “bizarre” ! Will be on sale in the Tokyo area in October!

Coffee Chat

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Recently I spent a little time, and less $$$ to get to where I was going to via Portland, Oregon ! Portland, much like San Francisco and Seattle are home to some really well thought of coffee shops/smaller scale-roasters ! Portland is home to of course Stumptown and it’s offerings are ubiquitous city-wide . Stumptown does a lot of things really well, they seem to have found that sweet spot between commercial coffee chains and hipster cafe vibe. They roast coffee really well, and were one of the first to use a direct trade model for green coffee procurement ! Their cafe’s, though extremely busy, maintain an open and welcoming atmosphere. The folks working the counter know their product ! They are friendly to a fault, it is one of the things I like best about my experiences there. The above pictures are from another independent called Cuova. Located in a semi-gentrified area of Portland warehouses. Cuova shares space with a woodworking company and they often roast on their small roaster (main roasting done another place). Again the coffee is without fault, presentation wise you see a nice attention to detail. That said, they are super-hipster, beards, tattoos the Portland jeans and shirts. You might find them stand-offish, but with a sort of relaxed west coast “Whaddya want” attitude. At most of the independent smaller roasters, should you buy some beans, they will offer you a cup of coffee of your choice. Coava doesn’t…….or at least didn’t ! Still the coffee is pretty darn good , even if the attitude isn’t as favourable as at their nearby competitors !

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Next up, pictured above I made my way to Longbeach, so I could pick up a few mini-novellas at the SCAA HQ ! With that mission accomplished it was off to Abbot Kinney and to Intelligentsia’s bar there. I bought some Kenyan ( did not buy the Geisha at $80 per 250 grams) and a bag of Columbian and was offered a cup of filter of my choice. I like the serving style there, very well trained staff, friendly but laid back ! I like how the bar tender follows each customer through the process from order taking to making to final payment. Of course the shop is an architectural wonder, ( and to be fair, many of the main Starbucks shops are also extremely interesting in their architecture ). I like Intelligentsia, they have always been great in the service and coffee that I have bought from them over the years.

Once I had a Coffee-Bar !!!

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Once I had a Coffee-Bar !!!

About 30 years ago I owned a coffee-bar ! Pretty much my first business and predates my language school business by almost a decade ! Quite successful, in that it paid for university, and I graduated debt free and had enough left over to go on long trip to SE Asia, South Asia, Australia, and Japan!